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a time of change

Life has changed since we last sat down to write a blog. Then, the biggest problem in the Ignite world was that our latest publication – the new book of poems by Steve Pottinger – had arrived a day later than we’d hoped and hadn’t been available for his gigs in London and Brighton.

It’s hard to believe that was three short weeks ago. Since then we’ve seen panic buying, lockdown, and increasing pressures on our health service. Our heartfelt thanks to all the NHS staff who are working so hard in such difficult circumstances. The nationwide applause last Thursday was well-deserved, as is the PPE they’ve been waiting for, a pay rise, and more. But you know that already.

These aren’t easy times for any of us. For now, we’re still here selling books, and we very much hope to be here when things return to normal, whenever that may be. If you decide that losing yourself in our books will be the perfect way to get through your lockdown, you can order through our online shop as always, and we’ll post them out as soon as we can. But we do understand that other things may be more or a priority right now.

Look out for each other, help each other where you can, and stay safe. Our very best wishes to you all.

thirty-one small acts…

OK, so things didn’t quite go to plan, in that the new book of poems by Steve Pottinger arrived on Tuesday morning last week rather than Monday, which meant he didn’t have copies with him for his Brighton and London gigs. But the book is here now, and looking glorious.

It’s up on our shop page already, of course, and we’re off down the Post Office tomorrow morning to send out the first batch of orders. (Our thanks to all the folk who got in there early!) We’ll be setting up a book launch – maybe two or three – in advance of the official publication date of May 1st, so keep your eyes peeled for them.

In the meantime, you can be the envy of all your friends* by getting your copy here. Trust us, it’s worth it.

*especially the ones who like poetry

a bit like buses…

… in that you wait ages for some kind of news from us, and there seems to be nothing but tumbleweed. Then, out of nowhere, there’s stuff coming at you from all angles. Last week, the news that we’re putting out a new volume of poems by Steve Pottinger; today, we’re very happy to announce that A Marvellous Party is going to the printers once more.

This book by Ian Elmslie leapt out as a great story when he first sent us the manuscript, and it’s been heartening to see our faith in his work backed up by the response of so many readers to A Marvellous Party. Ian is currently touring a show based round the book – he’s in Canterbury in the next day or so – and we recommend you catch it if you get the chance.

Oh, and get yourself a copy of the book, if you haven’t already. You won’t regret it.

hello again

It’s been a while since we found time to spend an afternoon fettling away at the Ignite website. What can we say? Life’s been busy. But here we are, in our oily cyber-overalls, pencil behind our ear, tweaking the bits that need tweaking and hitting the rest with a hammer. Like always.

Our thanks to everyone who’s been buying our books over Xmas and the New Year. We’ve been able – with some confidence – to relate spikes in sales to Discharge shows here (Tezz Roberts: But after the gig…) or to prison visits there (Ian Elmslie: A Marvellous Party) and it’s gratifying to know that our books are being enjoyed by people across the world.

This month’s big news is that a new book of poems by Steve Pottinger is currently at the printers and will be with us by early March. The timing is immaculate, as a fine fine place completely sold out earlier this year. You can pre-order copies of ‘thirty-one small acts of love and resistance’ (snappy title, huh?) here. Steve will hopefully have copies with him at his gigs in Brighton and London on 3rd and 4th March respectively. Either way, we recommend getting your mitts on one sharpish. It’s really good.

in it together

Here at Ignite we’ve always believed in the importance of looking out for each other, supporting each other, having a laugh, and doing good where we can. It’s not rocket science, although the views of certain politicians standing in the UK election suggests they’ve as much understanding of solidarity as an earthworm has of art (but that’s a whole other blog post).

To get back to the point of this blog, a week or so ago Ross Lomas turned up five copies of the US edition of his best-selling autobiography City Baby. This was published by Bazillion Points, they sent us a few copies, we admired what they’d done, and then we put them in a safe place. Then we forgot the safe place. There, folks, is a snapshot of life at Ignite Villas for you.

Anyway, Ross found the books, and we decided the safest thing to do was let other people look after them. And why not do something good, too? Ross suggested that signing the books and selling them to raise money for charity might be a good idea, and chose Acorns Hospice as the place he’d most like the money to go to.

We’re very happy to say all five books have now been sold, and are making their way to new homes. And the generosity of these Ignite readers has raised £50.00 for Acorns, which we’ll be sending them very soon. Thanks to Jerry, Paul, Raychel, Aaron, and Chris for helping us do something good. It’s the season for that kind of thing. It should always be the season for it.

And yes, we sell books too. If you want any of our titles for Xmas presents for you, your friends, or your family, pop along to our online shop. Or visit your local, independent bookshop, and order our books through them. Ta.

waiting for my man…

Here at Ignite Villas we’re truly at the cutting edge of technology. The latest in quills and inkwells, of course, and the very speediest and keenest of racing pigeons in the loft out back, ready and waiting to get word out to our authors and customers as quickly as possible.

It’s therefore entirely in keeping with our aim to embrace every modern advantage available that we’ve hit upon an incredibly modern wheeze to deliver copies of But after the gig… to Tezz Roberts and his merry team of pranksters whenever they sell out. Not for us the slow, lumbering of horse and cart northwards to the Potteries with a crate of books. Oh no.

Instead, we arrange a meeting at Wolverhampton train station, where – as the train for Stoke arrives in a cloud of steam and the smell of burning coal – we doff our hat to Mr Roberts’ representative, hand over the box of books, wish him well on his forthcoming concert tour, and return home at breakneck speed in one of the Corporation’s new-fangled omnibusses. Quite the caper!

Those of you who haven’t yet read the musings of young Roberts as he looks back at a life spent (and, indeed, mis-spent) in the clutches of punk rock can purchase one via this link here. We assure you our best pigeons will be winging their way to you, book in beak, very very soon. And on that cheery note, we bid you good morrow.

We shall now retire to peruse the daily papers and the latest horrors there within. A stiff drink or two may well be required to steady the nerves in the face of our political masters’ conniving and skulduggery. Hey ho.

blackpool rock

This weekend we’re sending our very best wishes to all our punk rock friends up at Rebellion festival in Blackpool. We’d hoped to find time to come along ourselves and have a stall selling copies of City Baby and But after the gig… but it wasn’t to be. We know Ross Lomas is there, though – so he may be able to help any of you after his book – and it’s entirely possible Tezz Roberts will drop by too. Who can say?

Seeing as we’re not in Blackpool catching up with old friends and making new ones, we’ve been consoling ourselves by packing up book orders instead. If you live on the UK mainland, in the Channel Islands, or in Brazil (yes, Brazil!) your books will be on their way as soon as the Post Office opens tomorrow.

Some time this year we’ll finally get round to buying a world map to hang on the wall at Ignite Villas so we can mark all the different towns and cities round the world where people have bought our books. Expect a photo when we do. It’s seriously impressive. Oh, and if you want your town to be on the map, you know what to do. Now, for the love of god, someone bring us back a stick of rock from Blackpool!

incredibly marvellous

The anniversaries are coming thick and fast here at Ignite Villas. Mark Zuckerberg may not be good for much, but – following on from the 1st anniversary of But after the gig… – his social media platform has reminded us that it’s now two years since we published A Marvellous Party.

And what a book it is!

Those of you who’ve read it will know how good it is. Those of you who haven’t will expect us to tell you you’re missing a trick. And who are we to let you down? It’s an absolute belter of a story, the sort of book that reminds you of the good in people despite the obstacles they face, and makes you feel this world’s a better place than our jaded cynical zeitgeist would have you imagine.

Above all, A Marvellous Party is a reflection of its author, Ian Elmslie, who was a joy to work with from the moment he first approached us with his manuscript. The process of editing the original work into the book you now see could have been a nightmare (no author wants to hear that some of the words they’ve sweated over may be superfluous to requirements) but in Ian’s case, it wasn’t. We wouldn’t tell you that you should buy his book simply because he’s a very nice man, but he IS a very nice man. And you should buy his book.

You don’t have to take our word for it, either. Boyz loved A Marvellous Party when they reviewed it. As did Attitude. And, most importantly, hundreds of our readers.

Go on, treat yourself. It’s summer.

tezz anniversary

Yesterday, Facebook reminded us that it was exactly one year since we opened the door at Ignite Villas and took delivery of But after the gig… from our reliable, friendly, wonderful printers. Only one year? That’s hard to believe, because we’ve packed so much in to the ensuing twelve months. The first print run sold out completely, for starters, and we had to re-order. Not that we’re grumbling – that’s the kind of problem every publisher likes to have.

We’ve sent copies out to readers all around the world, too. You’d expect orders to come in from the UK and the USA, given Tezz Roberts’ travels with his guitar over the years, but this book has also been enjoyed by folk across Europe and beyond. We added Ukraine, Russia, and Indonesia to the list of countries we’ve posted books to, which is quite an achievement for a small independent publisher. We love the idea that something we put together ends up as a prized possession of someone in a town or city we’ve never been to. In idle moments (not that we have many of them) we wonder what life there is like, which stories in the book strike a chord with the person who bought it, what makes them laugh, or shake their head in disbelief, and how they feel when they turn the last page and reach the end of Tezz’s story.

We’ll never know, of course, but it’s a lot of fun wondering. Happy birthday, But after the gig… Whatever will the next year bring?

like digital rabbits

How does admin do it? It’s a question we’ve been pondering over the past few days as we ploughed through all the emails and messages which had piled up while we were away thinking of anything but work. Strewth, but there were a lot of them!

Our conclusion: computers have a lot to answer for. Communication is easier than ever, and the ability to fire off messages and comments lies at our fingertips, there on the keypad, ready to be sent anywhere in the world in an instant. And emails beget emails beget emails. They breed like digital rabbits. Which is why there was an admin mountain waiting for us when we got home.

But we’ve fought the good fight. We’ve sent out books. We’ve cleared our inbox (for a day or two anyway). And now it’s time to lounge on the sofa and enjoy a beautiful summer evening. You should too. If only you had a good book to read while you do, eh? Oh, wait. There’s the Ignite shop, there at your fingertips. We can feel the emails coming already!